When I was writing "The Guardian" I really didn't think I would have any other stories to tell. I was wrong, must be the "muse" that all the real writers talk about. At any rate, here's a little story, two maybe three chapters. Hope you enjoy it an thanks for reading. Wish I owned my house, my car, the Blacklist, but I don't...
Liz sat in the surgical waiting room of the hospital, the room designed to portray confidence and calmness to the people waiting in it. An overreach most certainly, pale butter yellow just didn't carry that much reassurance to any anxious family or friend that waited for news of their loved ones.
She had already reviewed her case notes, checked email, read the online news and played several games on her phone, well lost several games, she hated birds. It wasn't really necessary that she wait, even though the man being operated on had been a solid lead to the next name on Red's Blacklist. The man had tried to kill her and Ressler and had only failed because her partner had been quicker on the draw. But she did need to provide an update to Cooper and there was no other place she needed to be or wanted to go. Red was out of town, her home would be empty and it was still pouring down rain. So at 1:00 am on a Friday night she sat and waited, lamenting on how her social life sucked.
Finally the digital display mounted on the wall that recorded who and what the patients surgery status was, updated - indicating that the man she and Ressler had brought in, was now in recovery. Twenty minutes later the surgeon came out. "I'm Daniel Stewart. You're here for John Glaude?"
Liz inhaled sharply and her eyes narrowed in appreciation of the man that towered above her. Beautiful blue eyes, brown hair flecked with grey, the Doctor was simply drop dead gorgeous. She would have to be either dead or a nun to not appreciate fully the man that stood in front of her. She was neither of those things.
She suddenly became conscious of the ragged sight she must look. Up since five that morning, the last time she had even brushed her hair that day, well now that she thought about it, she hadn't brushed it all day or put on lipstick or even checked to see if her mascara had smudged under her eyes. Figures, she sighed in disappointment, what a lost opportunity. At least she could come off as a professional.
Standing, she held out her hand, palm tingling as the Doctor reached out and grasped it in a firm shake. She could feel an immediate flush that she would like to contribute to the warmth of the waiting room, however she knew perfectly well that wasn't the case. "Be still my beating heart...", she couldn't help but think of the age old line and how perfectly it applied to her right now.
"Agent Keen." Striving for her best no nonsense voice, instead she sounded soft, husky and low. She swallowed deeply.
"FBI? I take it your responsible for the gunshot wound to my patient." The Doctor asked, his eyes searching her face.
She thought he sounded surprisingly non-judgmental, taking into consideration his vow to save lives. "That would be correct. I wanted to get an update on his condition."
"Why don't you walk with me to my office. It's been a long night." He released her hand and placed his own on the small of her back, leading her out of the waiting room. The gesture reminded her of another man and she quickly pushed away the thought.
She followed him out of the waiting room and down a maze of hallways. She couldn't help but sneak the occasional side glance at him. Hmmmm, he had a definite Kevin Costner look about him. Really, she needed to get a grip. Too much coffee and too many late nights.
"The patient's prognosis is good. He will most likely be in critical condition for the next twelve hours and then be downgraded. I assume you will be moving him to a secure facility?" He opened the door to his office and motioned her in.
"As soon as you give us the go ahead." The office was spacious, elegant, with lots of mahogany wood and leather furniture. Liz walked over to the wall displaying various fishing and hunting photos of the Doctor and companions.
"Do you like fly fishing?" He asked, pouring himself a short glass of what looked like brandy.
Liz couldn't help the grin that flashed on her face. "Love it, favorite past time with my father when he was alive." The Doctor met her grin with one of his own, the crows feet at the corners of his eyes crinkling beautifully.
"Care for drink? I'm off duty and I can't imagine that your still on duty." He motioned to the bottle in his hand.
Liz thought about it for a moment, "That would be nice", she accepted.
Somehow the next hour flew by as they chatted about fly fishing, hand spun lures and the biggest catch ever. She couldn't help the thrill of delight as he listened to her with rapt attention to the silly little fishing story she was telling him.
He leaned forward, pressing his forearms onto his desk and looked at her intently. "Is there any way I could possibly convince you to join me next Saturday at a black tie event at the Mayflower Hotel?"
She mulled it over. Was it possible that this man would be her first date since her marriage had ended over eighteen months ago? Several times Liz had agreed to go out with someone, only to have the date either cancel at the last minute or stand her up completely. She had actually pretty much given up on the thought of meeting anyone.
She inhaled, her stomach tightening. "I'd be delighted."
After the breakup of her marriage, she had secretly hoped that something might develop between her and Red. She had stopped denying long ago her infatuation with the man and the hot rush of desire that always seemed to be waiting to roar to life when he was in his "relaxed Red mode" as she liked to call it.
Over the last two years Lizzie had discovered that there were two very different Reds. The one that worked his Blacklist with her and the team. Who acted as her mentor, who constantly brought the FBI to heel when they strayed off course. The determined, ruthless man that hadn't rested until she discovered for herself the depth of her husbands betrayal. "Blacklist Red" she called it, he was all of that and more, delivered with a sneer or a smirk, sparing no one, including her, the sharp edge of his razor wit and tongue.
And then there was the other Red,"Relaxed Red" she had grown fond of privately thinking of him as. The man that would suddenly appear in her living room after a particularly grueling day, bearing wine and takeout, who would rub her feet and tell her amusing stories from his past. The man that had helped her to box her husbands belongings and rid them from the house after he had been arrested. Who had nagged at her endlessly until she agreed to sell the home she had shared with the piece of scum, now doing life in a Federal prison. The same Red that she had looked to and asked him to negotiate the final price of the purchase of her current residence, another brownstone, this one located in one of Washington's elite suburbs.
Of course the only reason she had been able to afford the house was also due to Red. Frustrated with the details of trying to handle Sams estate, Red had offered to take the task off her hands. Scooping up the will and bits and pieces of paper into a shoe box and taking them with him. By then, Liz trusted him totally and Red had wisely invested her inheritance, the return had been amazing. She had actually been able to purchase the house mortgage free. A feat that never in a million years would have been accomplished without his help.
When the faucet in the bathroom leaked, it was Red that had a plumber in the next day. When the snow fell, her sidewalks and car were always the first to be cleared off by a mysterious hand, her grass was always trimmed and her small flower garden weeded and mulched. Of course she knew Red was responsible for taking care of it and certainly they were close enough that she could point out that while appreciated, it was unnecessary. And Red, being Red, replied just as she expected. "Lizzie, my dear you simply cannot work twelve hour days, fly out of the country at the last minute and expect to be able to maintain a home. It just isn't realistic."
Red took care of her in a way that no other person in her life had ever done, not Tom, not her father, not anyone. It wasn't that he made a show of "taking charge" Red just did. He took care of business, quietly, efficiently, effectively and in a way that didn't alienate her own strong personality. He made it seem as if her needs were the only ones of importance. He made her feel cherished and more.
In between the time spent eliminating the names on his blacklist, they traveled. Red insisting to Cooper that he wasn't going to work with anyone else and her presence was required as he traced out his next contact or followed a new lead. Cooper had long since given up in trying to persuade Red to follow any of his rules, especially since their success continued to elevate him in the eyes of his superiors. So Liz's position with the agency slowly changed, instead of being considered a profiler, she had become more covert, less accountable to the rules and regulations of the agency. She still worked with Ressler and Meera, but generally only when they were working to bring in a Blacklister. The remainder of the time, she worked with Red.
Singapore, Budapest, Belize, Austria, the list went on. Given the circumstances, their close proximity and gentle caring that Red always treated her with when they were away from the post office, it was probably only natural that she had fallen so hard for the man. Yes, long ago she had decided not deny how she felt about him. Unfortunately though, Red did not reciprocate her feelings. No matter how many times he took her hand, or how close he held her with his cheek on her head when they danced, or curled up in front of a roaring fire, just companionably talking about everything and anything, Red never took it any further.
To give credit, where credit was due, she had tried. While not particularly skilled at seduction she wasn't totally inept either. She had put the signals out there, turning her head so his mouth brushed her lips instead of her cheek, wrapping her arm around his waist when they walked, instead of being satisfied with him holding her hand. Yes, she had tried. But short of showing up naked in his bed, which wasn't going to happen, their relationship stayed just as it was. Red, through his lack of actions more than anything else, eventually dispelled any thought she might have had about them having a relationship. So she resigned herself to what she did have, his friendship and that friendship was more valuable than anything else in her life.
Again, thanks to Red there was no issue on what to wear Saturday night. She had a fully stocked closet with beautiful designer gowns. Red had insisted early on that she have suitable clothing for those occasions they were under cover. Her basic black, FBI cocktail dress just wouldn't do.
Saturday morning rolled in bright and beautiful. Lizzie spent the day primping an almost unheard of luxury. Manicure, pedicure, hair trimmed and brows waxed. Anticipation building as the hour approached. She finally settled on a beautiful, golden lame evening gown, the fabric appearing to have been poured over her like liquid. The back was completely bare, scooping below the dimple beneath her spine. The front was a one piece halter, a tight choke band around her neck holding it up. The fabric just barely covering the sides of her breasts, hugging her waist and hips before cascading to the floor with a swirl. Her hair was done in an elegant french twist with long dangling earrings showing off her slender neck. Matching sheer silk shaw, shoes and bag completed the outfit. Liz really had to hand it to Red, she looked and felt fantastic! She flushed with excitement as she sprayed on Clive Christian perfume, another gift from Red and the doorbell rang.
Dembe turned the corner to Liz's street and slowed the car to a stop. "Raymond."
"Yes" he answered, preoccupied, not bothering to glance up from the tablet he was using.
"Raymond," Dembe said again softly.
At this Red looked up to see what the issue was. A large black limousine was in front of Lizzie's house, effectively blocking traffic. Red's eyes narrowed as he watched a tall, distinguished man in a tuxedo escorting Lizzie down the steps of her brownstone, her arm hooked in the crook of his elbow.
His Lizzie. Resplendent in a shimmering gold evening gown. A gown he was quite certain he had bought for her. His Lizzie, looking up and laughing with another man. His Lizzie, with another man touching her bare back as he helped her into the limo.
"Get the license number." His voice devoid of any inflection, only the muscle in his cheek indicating his displeasure.
Well there you have it! Stay tuned...